BusinessCompany NewsQueen to introduce public spending plans

Queen to introduce public spending plans

The Queen's Speech is expected to include proposals to alter the financing of higher education and the NHS, notice of a Green Paper on pension reform and a Bill to create regional assemblies for England with spending but no taxation powers.

Link: NAO to increase scrutiny of public spending

The address – which sets out the government legislative programme for the coming parliament – is given by the Monarch to both Houses of Parliament and will detail more than 15 Bills, White Papers and consultative Green Papers.

There is expected to be little that directly affects accountants – that will be delayed until chancellor Gordon Brown’s pre-Budget Statement later this month, which will look at a range of tax and planning incentives to encourage business, especially smaller hi-tech firms in deprived areas of the country.

The new Foundation Hospitals will be able to borrow on commercial markets despite Treasury opposition under a new Health Bill while changes in Higher Education legislation will allow universities to access new streams of finance including the possibility of top up fees for elite institutions.

The proposed elected regional assemblies will also have the power to direct taxpayers money to local priorities – especially in terms of enterprise and job creation. These powers will be greater than the current Regional Development Agencies. The first referendums on the new assemblies will be held in the North East and North West.

There will also be consultative Green Paper on pensions to tackle the current superannuation crisis with more detail expected in the Pre-Budget statement.There will also be a Communications Bill creating a single regulator for the broadcasting, IT and telecoms industries opening the way for more cross-media ownership.

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